Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z is set to turn the franchise on its ear early next year with even more off-the-wall action than normal, crazy undead enemies to wage war against and an art style that feels like a gritty comic book come to life. To help keep the hype train rolling, the folks at Team Ninja have unleashed a fresh set of screenshots for the upcoming action game, showing off elemental combat and a brand new sewage plant level to explore.

I first clapped peepers on Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z at this year’s E3 and, with controller in hand, I had the opportunity to spend about 20 minutes running along walls, leaping through the air and slicing enemies to ribbons in grand fashion as crimson lifejuice splashed across the screen. Given this is a Ninja Gaiden game, I was surprised to find a healthy dose of humor plugged in, as well as a giant mutated zombie baby that still visits me in my nightmares from time to time.

In short, Yaiba takes everything you love about the fast action and visceral combat of the Ninja Gaiden series and steers it in a brand new, unexpected direction. Even early on, the game looked great, played great and had me itching for more.

Unfortunately, that “more” won’t be around for a few more months, as the game isn’t set to release until early 2014. Thankfully, we’ve got some killer new screenshots and combat details to tide us over for a bit longer.

“This latest batch of assets find Yaiba deep in the bowels of a sewage plant, confronted by waves of zombies that attack with bile, electricity and fire,” reads a statement from Team Ninja. “Ever the cunning ninja, Yaiba adapts to his new zombie adversaries by ripping out the Blister Sister’s bile-filled guts to harvest her toxic bagpipe, allowing him to spew the deadly bile himself, at his dastardly discretion.”

And yes, said bile sack looks a lot like a turtle shell strapped to Yaiba’s back, perfectly appropriate given his location and the game’s tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.

Enjoy a bunch of the new screenshots below and get ready to join Yaiba on his new adventure once Ninja Gaiden Z launches for the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on March 4.

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